Nowadays, electric fireplaces are becoming more and more popular in our homes, especially as traditional fireplaces are considered un-environmentally friendly.
Electric fireplaces can be powered by the available electricity supply we already have in our homes, and they often produce a very realistic looking flame.
But do these fireplaces actually give off heat?
Electric fireplaces serve a purpose which is far greater than their decorative aspect. The vast majority of electric fireplaces do, in fact, give off heat.
They have a heating element near the top of the unit, and fans blow hot air out to provide heat to a room.
The clever thing about electric fireplaces is that you can turn the heat aspect and the flame aspect on and off separately. So if you want to see the flames dance, but don’t want to heat up your room, you can do it!
How Do Electric Fireplaces Give Off Heat?
Most electric fireplaces on the market today come with a heat function that can be turned on to produce heat. As mentioned above, the heating element is separate to the flame element, so both can be switched on and off individually.
When activated, the fireplace will pull in cooler air from the room and heat it internally before fans push the hot air out.
All you have to do is plug your fireplace into an electrical socket or outlet in your home to provide your appliance with power. Like most fan heaters, you can adjust the heat settings to your own personal preferences.
More modern models come with remote controls, which allow you to turn on the flames, and adjust the heat without having to get out of your seat.
How Much Heat Do Electric Fireplaces Produce?
When using a traditional wood-burning fireplace, you lose about 80% of the heat produced through the chimney. However, all of the heat produced by an electric fireplace will be released back into the room.
Although electric fireplaces are 100% efficient, there are some limitations. What they can output is limited to the voltage of electricity which is provided to them.
Most electric fireplaces run on 120 volts, which has a maximum draw of around 1500 watts. The heat output is limited to around 5000 BTUs (British Thermal Unit) which will provide enough heat to warm a small or medium room. Some models can be connected to 240 volts, which will generate more heat.
In comparison, a gas fireplace can give off up to 30,000 BTUs, but this is far too hot for most rooms.
How Does The Heat Compare To Other Fireplaces?
As the heat output of an electric fireplace is limited to a standard electrical socket, most units only output around 5000 BTUs.
Some models will provide around double the heat of a standard electric fireplace, averaging around 9000 to 10,000 BTUs, which would heat a larger room.
In comparison, wood-burning and gas fireplaces can produce anywhere between 7000 to 60,000 BTUs, but the majority of heat will be lost through a chimney or a flue. So, having a higher heat output isn’t necessarily better.
Is An Electric Fireplace Flame Real?
Although an electric fireplace flame looks very realistic, they are not real, and the heat is produced separately to the flame. As the flame is fake, no harmful gases or smoke can be produced from the flame and there’s no need to have a chimney, vent or flue.
The flame is often produced by an LED light bulb. The light is refracted which gives the effect of a dancing flame.
Without needing a chimney, you have a lot more freedom of where you can put an electric fireplace in your home. Many people tend to put their electric fireplaces on feature walls, or even under their TVs.
As noted above, most electric fireplaces allow you to turn the flame on without turning the heating element on too. That means you can enjoy the flames even on the warmest of evenings.
Will Electric Fireplaces Get Hot?
As the flame isn’t real, the glass on an electric fireplace will not get hot. Because of this, it’s a lot more child and pet friendly compared to traditional types of fireplaces.
However, the heating element will get very hot, just like normal electric heaters. With that being said, you should be careful as to where you place your electric fireplace as it needs proper ventilation.
Make sure you put it in an open area, away from items such as curtains, which can block the vents and cause a fire hazard. Although the fire isn’t real, it can still cause electrical fires.
If you have an electric fireplace insert, you do not need to worry about the positioning as it should slot straight into your existing fireplace.
How Much Do Electric Fireplaces Cost To Heat?
Electric fireplaces are great for zone-heating if you want to focus the heat on one room in your house.
By focusing the heat, you don’t run the risk of overheating the rest of your house. Because of this, they cost far less to operate a year in comparison to traditional gas fireplaces.
On average, electric fireplaces cost around $50-$80 a year to operate compared to $350 a year for gas fireplaces. It’s worth considering an electric fireplace if you’re looking to save on your electricity bills.
To maximise the heat from an electric fireplace, don’t use them to heat rooms with high ceilings as they’ll need to use a lot more energy. Instead, place them in average-sized rooms that are roughly around 500 square feet.
It’s also worth noting, that if you’re using just the flame element, it costs significantly less than using the heating element. So if you’re enjoying the fames, you don’t have to worry about the price stacking up.
In comparison to other fireplaces, electric fireplaces require minimal maintenance, servicing or repairs. They tend to last a lot longer than gas fireplaces and cost a lot less to maintain.